When Can I Be Charged for Having Drugs in My System?

Many people turn to our law firm because they are confused about the difference between being charged for possession of a controlled substance and consumption of drugs. Below, we discuss the legal consequences of these actions and what to expect if you are arrested for a drug-related crime.

Is There a Difference Between Drug Consumption & Drug Possession?

Under California Health and Safety Code 11350(a) HS, you can be charged with a misdemeanor for unlawful possession of a controlled substance. According to the United States Controlled Substances Act, a controlled substance includes illegal street drugs and certain prescription medications possessed without a valid prescription.

There is a major difference between possessing illegal drugs and consuming them. An example of this would be how the smell of burnt marijuana is not necessarily grounds for a police officer to arrest you for possession in the state of California.

Since the smell of burnt marijuana can linger long after it has been consumed, it no longer provides adequate evidence that the individual currently is in possession of marijuana. However, police officers often testify that they smelled fresh unburnt marijuana to establish that they reasonably believed the individual was in possession of marijuana.

Health and Safety Code 11550 HS also makes it a crime for an individual to be under the influence of a controlled substance or a narcotic drug. Under this law, there is no requirement that the accused individual was in possession of a drug. Just being under the influence of the drug is enough for a conviction in California.

What Are My Rights If I’m Accused of Having Drugs in My System?

Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you are entitled to be free from unreasonable “searches and seizures” by law enforcement of. This means if the evidence of a crime was obtained through an unreasonable, or unlawful search and seizure, then that evidence can be barred from being included in the case against the defendant. Drug crime charges can be reduced or even dismissed if police violate the Fourth Amendment to make an arrest.

Our Drug Crimes Team Will Vigorously Fight for Your Rights

At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we know that Los Angeles law enforcement is notoriously tough on drug crime cases. That is why our firm is committed to using our vast resources and knowledge of the law to help clients take action immediately in order to protect their rights, reputations, and futures from the consequences of conviction.

If you have been accused of consuming or possessing illegal drugs, then please speak with our highly trained drug crime team to discuss what your best course of action is. Our award-winning lawyers understand the state's laws on mushrooms and other types of drugs in CA, and we are here to provide the insightful guidance you need to navigate the legal system.

Please call us today at (800) 462-7160 or set up your consultation online to get started on your case.